Topical Humor Causes Major League Consternation

USA Today: The latest “Got Milk?” commercial hit a little too close to home for Major League Baseball.
Poking fun at the league’s steroid scandal, the television ad for the California Milk Processor Board talks about a player getting pulled from a game “after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.”
In the next scene, a coach pulls a carton of milk from the slugger’s locker.
“There is nothing humorous about steroid abuse,” says Tim Brosnan, executive vice president for business for the league. “I would think that the California Milk Processor Board and their advertising agency would know better regarding an issue that threatens America’s youth.”
Jeff Goodby, co-founder of the San Francisco advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, which has produced the memorable campaign since 1993, says the ad was never meant to be taken so seriously.
“It’s just milk,” Goodby says. “Believe me, we know parody is based on a serious topic. So we wanted to make sure that it was goofy enough so that people didn’t get upset.”

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.